Vehicle design and service history:
After the prototype was tested in the middle of 1940, the Mark I was promptly put into production. Though none were ready for the French campaign, they were later sent to Egypt and fought the Italian invasion in the war’s opening stages. The Crusader was designed to maximise interior capacity, with the big sloping turret, with its iconic flat hatch with the telescope situated within it instead of a cupola.
In 1939, the 40mm of armour was made to withstand the majority of tanks, which were equipped with 37mm guns at the time. Sand guards were fitted to early production vehicles, mainly to cover the back portion of the tank. The 6th Royal Tank Regiment of the 7th Armoured Brigade was the first regiment to engage in combat with these brand-new Crusaders Mark I’s. They used their speed as a screening technique while fighting alongside Matilda infantry tanks.
In terms of gameplay, with the Crusader Mk. II now being at 2.7 for sometime the Crusader Mk. I Early could slot well into the 2.3 gap to replace it. I also suggest the Crusader Mk. I Early over the Crusader Mk. I Late as the Late variant is almost identical in appearance to the Crusader Mk. II in-game, the only difference being the thickness of the hull plates. Whereas the different mantlet and only half the sand guards of the Crusader Mk. I Early will make it easier for the enemy to tell the 2 vehicles apart. The armour, besides the external mantlet is identical to the Mk. I Late.
Additional historical pictures:
- A15 Cruiser Mk.VI Crusader Tank A Technical History, P.M. Knight, ISBN: 9781326278342
- Crusader and Covenanter Cruiser Tanks 1939 - 45, David Fletcher and Peter Sarson, ISBN: 1855325128
- Crusader Cruiser Mark VI (AFV Weapons Profile 8), James Bingham, ASIN: B000JUQVSG